Consider this glowing debut from Paige Lewis a menagerie of near-extinction. Space Struck explores the wonders and cruelties occurring within the realms of nature, science, and religion, with the acuity of a sage, the deftness of a hunter, and a hilarious sensibility for the absurd. The universe is seen as an endless arrow “. . . and it asks only one question: How dare you?”
The poems are physically and psychologically tied to the animal world, replete with ivory-billed woodpeckers, pelicans, and constellations-as-organisms. They are also devastatingly human, well anchored in emotion and self-awareness, like art framed in a glass that also holds one’s reflection. Silky and gruesome, the poems of Space Struck pulse like starlight.
Space Struck by Paige Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this one. I read this one for Life’s Library Book Club. I’d recommend this book to anyone, whether a newby to poetry or a seasoned reader of poetry, anyone in between.
It was a very accessible book of poetry, it was a little generational, but overall encompassed a lot of shared sentiments through recognition.
This one engaged those parts of my brain, like the moments of slight panic or chaos followed by relief and serenity. Like reading Sunday comics after heavy news pages, finally finding the mate to the last pair of socks while doing laundry, sitting on the tarmac in a plane you thought you were going to miss. It’s this satisfying feeling of gratitude and calmness, things are ok, a type of feeling of accomplishment, entertainment, and relaxation for your soul.
I suppose I don’t read poetry enough.
Poetry to me takes a certain amount of discipline. Discipline I don’t always have. A certain amount of concentration. Concentration I don’t always have. It’s never my first pick when choosing a book, but when I do find something I enjoy, I ask myself why don’t I read more?
I think it’s because the audience for whom the book is intended is not always well-defined. And sharing one’s feelings, pondering, and outlook on life is so super subjective and often boring without context, plot, leading trajectory, as a lot of poetry goes from my experiences, that its appeal is somewhat limiting. My exposure altogether is limited so I can’t speak for all. Poetry typically has relational/social concepts, presented as overly complex, yet dubious, often incredibly specific to culture, upbringing, and life experiences that aren’t always commonly shared, ones I don’t understand or find far-reaching or weird, and then to put it into writing in a riddle-like stanza is like double dissatisfaction for me.
Anyway, about the book.
I loved the lines referencing nature the best. The observations and inquiring when to intervene, whether the subject matter stirs up anger, then confusion, let it be, it’s nature. It was an interesting concept for me.
I liked that much was intertwined with bits of history.
I liked that the format of poems where changed up.
Some more vague and personal than others, parts I felt a little naive, then though “Oh, ok.” Others I truly didn’t “get” still very intriguing to read. Some with bits of pop culture, childhood relatability, some depicting more intimate aspects of a relationship, some religious interest, some contemplative, some speculative. I liked the variety.
And I also liked that it was short and that single-subject concepts weren’t exhaustive/belabored/overly descriptive or too-trying. It expressed a feeling/concept and moved on.
But I think what makes this collection unique and interesting to me was how it balanced abstract thought and tangible, concrete circumstances, much relative to my own generation, which made all the difference.
MY FAVORITE CHAPTERS/POEMS:
Diorama of Ghosts
MY FAVORITE LINES:
“It’s nothing. The sun, with its plasma plumes and arching heat, is five million miles closer to Earth than it was in July, and we are still alive.”
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